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Drab


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Term used first by C. S. Lewis (English Literature in the Sixteenth Century, introduction) to denote poetry and prose of the later medieval period until the early Renaissance: ‘a period in which, for good or ill, poetry has little richness either of sound or images’. The term has generally been used, by Lewis and by later critics, to characterize works of the Tudor period which are unappealing to a modern ear. Typically, ‘Drab’ poets wrote in strongly rhythmical verse forms such as poulter's measure, making use of alliteration and of poetic ‘fillers’ such as ‘eke’, and employed few Latinate words. Yet many so‐called ‘Drab’ writers, such as Wyatt, have been much admired in modern times. The Tudor translators of Seneca's plays were highly regarded by T. S. Eliot, and many other ‘Drab’ translations were of crucial importance for the later Renaissance in England, such as Sir T. Hoby's version of Castiglione's Il Cortegiano (1561) and A. Golding's of Ovid's Metamorphoses (1567).

Subjects: Literature.


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